Hafta letters: Culture wars, the fall of great empires, new website feedback

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Great empires do not fall just because of war or internal distress. Neither do they fall because of natural calamity. They fall because the man in power loses touch with reality.

Chanakya overthrew Dhana Nanda. Dhana Nanda had surrounded himself with yes-men and that made him incapable of acting correctly when he needed to.

Every country needs independent media and critics because, in the long term, what matters is not if you have problems to solve. What matters is how you are able to solve them.

Having poverty, hunger and illiteracy is bad. Not having the ability to tackle poverty, hunger and illiteracy is disastrous. If the Indian political class goes to eliminate all critics, they would also lose the ability to analyse and solve real existential problems.

This is why I pay to keep news free. I pay Newslaundry, Indian Express, The Print and East Mojo.



Hi NL team,

I have been an NL subscriber for three years. I don't think I have missed even one episode of NL Hafta since I subscribed. Listening to NL Hafta feels like I am hanging out with friends.

Just wanted to give my two cents regarding the Ram Mandir issue. I think the independent media is missing the point while taking on the government on this issue. I believe that rather than supporting the casteism of the Sankaracharyas (especially The Wire interview of Karan Thapar), the focus should be on the criminal proceedings that needs to be initiated for the demolition of the Babri Masjid which even the Supreme Court has unequivocally mentioned was a criminal act and the progress on the same. Would love to hear your thoughts on the same.



The point missing from your Ayodhya discussion is that the BJP not only dominates the field electorally but has an overwhelming lead in the ongoing culture war. You cannot win against "historical wrongs", "civilisational threat" and "temple desecration" with facts and logic.

As Manisha pointed out, this issue spans multiple centuries. Generational trauma compounds the emotional and religious fervour attached with this event.

Now the challenge before the opposition and even independent media is to present a viable cultural counter narrative.

I believe the solution lies in the core of Hindu religion/philosophy which emphasises inclusivity, parallel truths, and decentralisation of faith. Invoking figures like Swami Vivekananda can help tackle rigid mindsets. Acharya Prashant would be the best person to speak on this topic.

Manisha and Anand are my favourite members on your show. I wish Manisha and your afflicted staff members a healthy and speedy recovery.



Writing in support for Newslaundry and NL Hafta. I truly appreciate the diverse opinions on the podcast, more the merrier. I just wish Manisha chimed in with her views more often.

More power to the team.



Hi, this is regarding your latest Hafta discussion on Ram temple inauguration.

As a Muslim, I have become numb from all that happened before, during and after the temple inauguration – be it the communal clashes, demolition of a 600-year-old mosque in Delhi, or the Gyanvapi temple case. Just a memory from my childhood flashes where, in a magazine, I saw a beautiful big Buddha statue carved on a whole mountain in Afghanistan, and the Taliban utterly destroying it with RPGs and destroying other Buddha statues and monasteries in Afghanistan. I was utterly shocked and unable to understand why are they that happy to destroy a symbol of civilisation and erase it completely.

Now also I am getting the same feeling of unable to understand why are they feeling so happy by destroying a 600-year-old mosque or Mathura-Kashi case. 



Hi Team NL,

Writing in about the latest Newsance where Manisha said the current government doesn't have the right "neeyat" because its main aim is humiliating Muslims. While I agree, it begs the question of what the people with the "correct" neeyat (ie the people currently in opposition) did when they were in power and why they made no attempt to bring in a just UCC that wouldn't humiliate Muslims.

It also begs the question of why they always felt an Indian government had the legitimacy to reform Hindu personal laws but not to reform those of Muslims. That itself lends credence to the "Hindu rashtra" idea, because only a Hindu rashtra can claim that it represents only Hindus.



Hi NL team, I don't have any feedback or suggestion. Just want to complement the team on the excellent new look to the website. It looks like a lot of hard work has been done.

Look forward to many great things in the 13th year.



With little effort, one can find scientific studies showing long-term relationships in the form of marriage is the basis for happiness and social well-being resulting in a long and quality life.

The global west wants to systematically destroy the institution of marriage with a higher legal age though child mothers (outside wedlock) are welcome, multiple sex partners is progressive as long as marriage is limited to maximum one. There is no limit to the number of men, women, or animals you can love – just don’t attempt to get a marriage licence.

Personally, I think UCC is a masterstroke and very progressive. All (except tribals) must give very many thanks to Modiji and Pushkarji. My recommendation to all (primarily Muslims) is to now call marriage as a live-in relationship. Why limit to four, all men and women (except tribals) can have entire harems as long as they can satisfy! Inheritance, if one chooses even dog (also goat for Muslims), are covered by way of will. Tribals from Uttarakhand should start to protest!



I was saddened by the Hafta discussion on north vs south. I would recommend the Hafta panel read the optimum currency area papers especially "revenge of the optimum currency area" 2013 paper by Paul Krugman.

Any geographical unit that has single currency should have fiscal integration. One without the other is a bad idea, as in euro zone. The debate should really be landlocked vs coastal region. One should consider the effects of container transport costs from the heartland to a port in India being 2-3 times the container transport costs from an Indian port to a US port. One should also consider the asymmetric shock of freight equalisation policy followed for 30 years. Also, if one plots per capita income on the x-axis vs female fertility rate on the y-axis for each state for each decade since independence, is there any difference in that plot? Is it better population control in the south or just the benefits of higher per capita due to nearness to ports?

Us vs others debate is always catastrophic for a country.



Girish Kuber is the editor of Loksatta and not Lokmat as mentioned by Raman sir.



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